Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gluepot 2013 #12

Many of the sandy ridges at Gluepot have an overstorey of mallee eucalypts and are covered with an understorey of spinifex or Triodia. Apart from its distinctive circular growing pattern, you quickly realise when you are amongst the spinifex, particularly if wearing shorts – the sharp needle-like leaves help remind you.

Young Trioda tussocks begin as a single clump and as time passes the plant grows outwards often leaving a dead or bare earth central portion. A 1m diameter bare centre represents a plant about 40 years old. Triodia ‘rings’ provide excellent cover for a range of lizards and mammals and the Striated Grasswren, (supposedly)!

Mallee Ringneck
There is something like four sub-species of the Australian Ringneck Parrot. The Mallee Ringnecks we saw at Gluepot often came to the water troughs at the same time as the Mulga Parrots and their size difference was quite evident.
Mulga at the front, ringneck behind.
Mallee Ringnecks are not a threatened species, being quite widespread and locally numerous but like most arid country birds are considered to be vulnerable to land clearing activities.

When feeding on the ground ringnecks can sometimes be approached quite closely unlike the mulgas which I always found to fly off immediately they spied me stalking them.

Ringneck parrots are endemic to Australia and are considered a popular aviary bird. They are strong fliers and yet are believed to be relatively sedentary within their range.

Juvenile Mallee Ringneck


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Coring The Greens

We cored the greens at 'Royal & Ancient' Heyfield Golf Club last week. When I say ‘we’, Steve and his team from JMJ Turf Renovations did the actual work! (Click on the pictures for a larger view).

The members don’t particularly enjoy the coring process as it disrupts their golf – the course is closed for a day and afterwards the greens are difficult to putt on for around another week.

Tim operated the ‘corer’. This machine punches out cores or plugs of grass and soil to a depth of about 50 -60mm.

Steve then ‘sweeps’ up the cores and dumps them in small heaps. (Afterwards, we mix these cores with some sand and distribute them onto bare areas in the rough beside some of the fairways).

Once the cores were removed, John ran across them and spread a layer of fine sand. He was followed by Tom with the ‘Verti-drainer’, a machine that punches a fine hole 150-200mm deep into the sub soil, breaking up any compaction.

Over the next few days the top dressing sand is gently swept into the holes and the greens are watered. The mowing height is raised a few millimeters for the next few cuts. The coring process is to aid the aeration and draining of the greens. After coring the greens respond more quickly to fertilizing and the grass is generally healthier. They drain better too, (and can dry out much more quickly).

Thanks Steve, Tim, John and Tom – job well done.